18th September 1917

Bandsman W. Metcalfe 46534, Band Room, 100 T.R.B., Albuhera Brks, Stanhope L’ns, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

Thanks for letter received this morning. I thought myself that my cap was too much over my eyes in photos. If I have time I will send large photo home to Mum this evening. Charlie Gibbs is second from the left of photo in third row. I will try to get a week-end at Harvest Festival but I will have to get a letter from Mr Chapman with a good excuse. I will write to him and ask him to write and ask me up to be at the service etc. We are shifting tomorrow night so I don’t suppose a letter in answer to this will reach me. I will let you know my new address as soon a possible. If you have seen Mr Rolfe I hope you are satisfied enough with his terms so as to start lessons and make a real success. I fully expect to be beaten and I hope I am in this case. Our football team played the unbeatable team last night and beat them two goals to nil. They were never so more surprised in their lives. As we were going on the field they said “Where’s the band” “We’ll put it up the band”. but they were sadly mistaken. I will close now as the light is failing

With Best Love Will xxx


17th September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

Thanks very much for the photo, it is very nice of you but would have been better had your chapeau not been so much over your face. I noticed Desmond and he looks a bit vicious. Is that Charlie Gibbs, two away from you? I also recognise the drummer. Johnnie Hilling was home on Sunday. I met Will Sharpe Sunday morning and he said you should not have gone back Sat. The Harvest Festival is to be held the last Sunday of this month. Sept 30th do try and get leave, for the Monday too, then you will be able to come to the Festival social also. You said you were going to fresh barracks is the address to be altered then? I am going to see Mr Rolfe this evening. Well there is no more this time to say, let me hear from Colchester early won’t you, hope you get along alright.

Well bye-bye Duckie

Emmie xxx


16th September 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534 Aldershot
Dear Emmie

I got back to barracks at 12.30 last night and this morning I was told by one of the boys that my leave had been extended and that they had sent the telegram at 8 o’clock last night. I wish I had prepaid it and then I should have had an answer much quicker. I am sending photograph of the band. It’s not bad. I will be sending the large one home tomorrow. I am wondering now what I should have been doing if I had received the answer quicker. It is 3 o’clock now. We have got to play at Officers’ Club this evening from 4 till 6 o’clock and then if there is time I think I will go to church.

Please will you let me know when the Harvest Festival is: how many more Sundays and I will try to work another week-end. There is nothing like trying. Well my Dear there is nothing more to say now so I will close with

Love for ever

Will xxx


12th September 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534 Aldershot
Dear Emmie

In answer to yours, I hardly know where to begin first. Of course when I saw the thick letter I got the “wind up” and when I opened it, it took my breath away. You might have let me have a postcard first just to get me prepared. Never mind! I thank you very much for such a long epistle; you know it cheers me up wonderfully every time I hear from you. If I hadn’t you to write to me I think I would get the DTs if you know what this means. I am glad to hear that everybody has been enlightened as to the true reason of Mr Hicken’s resignation. I am sorry to hear of the burglary at his house but he must feel relieved “some” what!

Mt Warder must be a very businesslike man at the rate in which he answers letters. Just fancy you having the pluck to go for a walk after what occurred at Euston; but perhaps you didn’t go that way did you? When I went to give my pass in I was told they were all stopped this weekend as we are moving next Thursday or Wednesday. You never said anything about having Friday afternoon off in your letter. I think we are going to Colchester. I won’t keep you in suspense too long but I am almost certain to get Friday and Saturday off. You know I just mentioned your name and the trick was done. No! the drum-major is seeing about it for me so it will be a very extra special leave this time.

Last night we went out to play at a fairwell dinner given by some senior officers who are soon going to France. We went there by brake, about two miles, or rather in an old red cross cart such as were used in the “Boer War”. We had a fine time, a cold meat supper and plenty of drinks and we did not get back to barracks until 12.30 am this morning. The orchestra is playing at a lecture tonight in the officers’ mess tomorrow night so we have something to do. As a matter of fact I didn’t do anything except eat and drink last night, the piano was the wrong pitch with the instruments so I could not play it. About Mr C. I was just wondering wether he was a Mormon or not. We happen to play both of those pieces in the orchestra and we have no piano parts so by having them down I would be able to play them. The concert practices are not proceeding much because the orchestra takes as much time. I did not notice that you asked me that before or I should have taken the first opportunity to answer it. About the GFs concert I hope that the “fun” lasts only for the night and no longer. I suppose I must own that I have a little yellow streak especially where you are concerned. How much can you swim by now; you will soon become a mermaid if you take to the water so much. I am never sarcastic but how many letters did you refer to to write your last letter; I guessed that you didn’t write that letter at 3 o’clock in the morning. I have not got the instep supports yet but there is plenty of time between now and when I come out of the army. All we do at Officers’ mess is play about eight pieces while they are dining. I am sorry I cannot stop to write more as I have not answered all your letter yet but I will tell you when I come home.

I do not think this notepaper is any better to write on but it is the only stuff we can get here. I am quite sure I could write another four pages if I had time so please excuse this short note.

I now conclude

With Best Love

Will xxx


10th September 1917

16 Tiber St
Dear Will

In answer to yours, I do not want to appear selfish, but I am really pleased it was raining in Aldershot or I should have been wild if it had been fine after all and I had stayed at home. Mr Hickin preached on Sunday evening and also explained the reason fully of his resignation. I am afraid we have misjudged him and he thought we had too, but on hearing the story from his own lips, I think the congregation is fully satisfied and agrees the course he has chosen to be correct and best.  There has been a burglary at his house, that is what brought him to London chiefly this week end. £50-worth of jewellery and other things stolen, I am told, but no clue whatever can be obtained as to who the thief is. I met Mr Hickin on Sat. and he asked me how you were. Mr Warder told me last evening he would write to you at the first opportunity in a week or two’s time he thought, he is a very busy person I suppose. Would you mind if I answered yours about a week after I wonder? I went for a nice walk Saturday evening with Maude. The war pictures are commencing again this Winter as in previous years, you will not be coming with me this time will you?

Mr Clarke came to the office this morning, he spent the week end in town (to be near his lady love I expect) and he went back to Bournemouth again this morning. He sent Mable and me a card last week and addressed me as “Dear M.” and Mabel as “Dear Alice”, now what do you think of the cheeky bounder. Why are you wanting those pieces of music and how are the concert practices proceeding. I believe I have asked you this before among the other countless questions you have not answered. The sun is shining nicely to-day, I am going to the Mish. this evening to play for Mr Chapman, the harvest anthem etc, we are having a practice. Things are looking up a little now the winter’s work is beginning to show itself. I hear Mrs Browne is going to get a concert together by the G.F.s and we are to entertain some wounded soldiers, there will be “some fun” that night you can guess. Do you remember Bert Pillar, he lived in our street, but has since gone to live in Devon, he attended the mission. Well he came to London on Sunday and called at our house. My word he is tall, he is in wounded soldier’s clothes but has grown wonderful. I went swimming on Friday (Mabel would not come) I got on alright too, I shall do a little next week by myself I think. I do not know what G. Ray is in, he was down again on Sunday, some of them seem to manage it all right. Mr Shovel’s boy next door has joined and he gets home every Sunday. You asked me in one letter if I posted the card to you directly after the all clear signal as you received it so soon. Well I hardly imagine myself writing at 2.30am and posting it that time of the morning especially after the excitement, but I wrote it as soon as I was dressed and then sent it at 7.30 so you see I was not so very late. Have you got the instep supports yet? You were not really sick were you. Bertie Cranmer has been to France some time, and also in the hospital some time with trench feet, Charlie Cranmer came home soon after him, so it was rather nice, all the boys seem to be coming now. We are expecting Jack Strong soon. What do you do when you go to the Officers’ mess? I know you get a free supper, or a tea. I am going to start Evening School next I think. I do not know what subjects to take yet. By the way, you complained some time back about the paper I left unused. You do not fill much I must say, besides you do not get many words on one line either. I would give you a prize if you could write me as much as I have you this time.

I think it is about time I drew to a close or you will begin to puff. Another thing, I have had some various selections of notepaper from you, but this dark grey blue stuff fairly makes me creep it is so drab and dreary, cut it off for a time there’s a dear boy. I am going to Lennis now to spend the rest of the evening. That chapie in my office in Mr Clarke’s place is a little more talkative now, his name is Mr Carroll, only I wish he would someetimes, but he made a joke the other day much to my amazement and then laughed and of course I heartily joined in on the rare occasion. Thank goodness this is the last week of his presence in the D.M.O. Well I really will close this time

With love from


Semper fidelis

(there were quite 4 words on each line to your last most welcome letter, I’ll pay you out my boy next time you see.


10th September 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534 Aldershot
Dear Emmie

I received yours this afternoon; we have had a double day today and we have also played a hard game of football this evening so I guess I will be a bit stiff tomorrow.

You know I was sorry you could not come as I said in my last letter but I hope to get leave on the 14th. I could not get an “application form” for a pass today so I will write it on a plain piece of paper. It was rather exiting for you at the Euston on Sunday: you are never safe anywhere in any way now there is a war on; what with the raid signals etc. There have been quite a lot of aeroplanes up this evening so I hope you are not having a lively time in London.

I have no more to say now so will conclude

With all my love



9th September 1917

16 Tiber St

How sad I am, I could not come. I was all ready, my sandwiches cut too, and then the rain came and lasted so long, so I could not start. It has been a miserable day, so dull and showery, I’ve been wondering if it was fine at Aldershot. You must try and get leave for the 14th.

Have been seeing all the Russians (men only) leaving the country this evening at Euston, there were myriads of them, and a great deal of unrest you may be sure. They were hissed and booed awful, of course there were the hooligans about and when Maude and I left Euston the hooligans shouted out that we were Russians been to see the menfolk off and they prepared to round on us, there were about 40 of them. I’ve never been so frightened so I shouted out We are English, then they cheered and let us go on triumphantly, what experiences we do have in war time, it is surprising.

Well the hour is approaching bed time, bye the way, we had a bit of a warning this afternoon and had to let our kiddies out of Sunday School about 3.30, another piece of excitement. The all clear signal was given though shortly after. Well write to be quick and tell me a lot.

Fondest love, from your



9th September 1917

Bandsman W Metcalfe 46534, (Band Hut) 100 T.R.B., Albuhera Barracks, Stanhope Lines, Aldershot
Dear Emmie

Thanks for yours of the 6th inst; I think it was a good thing you didn’t come down today as it has been raining again. When you didn’t turn up as I half expected, I was disappointed a little although in a way I had been hoping that you wouldn’t come. Yesterday and Friday were both fine days so I was looking forward to something. These things can’t be helped so I hope to see you next Friday if I get a pass. I am starting tomorrow to see if my cause is sufficiently important that I should get the said pass and if so it would give me so much pleasure if you would be so kind as to obtain permission to be absent from your office for an afternoon on the said Friday so as by your sweet company my leave would be made more enjoyable than if you could not etc etc etc. (all in one breath) I hope I have made my meaning quite plain to you. I am very sorry to hear of Harry Lawford’s death; one trouble always seems to be succeeded by another as in the case of the Fowlers. We all went to church this morning on church parade; you know we generally have a service in a field. I am going to night at 6.30 it is six o’clock now. It seems quite a long time since I went to a Sunday evening service. This afternoon I have been to orchestra practice trying over some new pieces.

I will now conclude

With Finest Love

Will xx